When the Japanese launched that six-carrier strike on Oahu, it was only the first attack of a major offensive of the size and scope that even Hitler never tried to pull off.
|The attack on HMS Repulse and HMS Prince of Wales, 10 December 1941|
The Japanese aim was to create a "Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere" basically a massive empire with rich resources and plenty of small islands they could use as airbases. Those islands, places like Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Saipan would become household names, small rocks in the ocean that were worth little apart from their location.
In the six months that followed, Japan almost achieved its goal - it got to within bombing range of Northern Australia, was banging on the door of British-controlled India and even took some of the Aleutian Islands, the chain of islands running west from Alaska. Only one event really stopped them - the Battle of Midway.
The next four parts of this will explore the early defeats of the Allies - Philippines, Malaya and Burma, as well as rightly one of the most renowned carrier battles in history. It will also look at the crimes committed by Japan - for Pearl Harbor was but one day of infamy among almost a decade.